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G is for .... Design Terms Glossary

Non-designers Essential Glossary of Design Terms

Every industry, business and profession has its own language and that language can leave you feeling confused and result in lots of misunderstandings.  We thought you might find our Design Terms Glossary useful whether you are using the training in our Members’ section or dealing with a graphic designer directly.

GIF     A Gif is an animated graphic like this little one of Waffle wagging her tail! Waffle wagging her tail faster on Make A Gif GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format which supports animation but is limited to a colour pallet of just 256 colours. This makes GIF an unsuitable format for photographs. The reason for this limited colour spectrum is that the Gif file compresses the multiple images needed to make an animation into a manageable data size without losing visual quality. For more information see also FRAMES in this glossary.
Graduated Colour

Graduated Colour



A graduated colour or gradient is a smooth transition from one colour to another.

Vector quality graphic design software allows designers to create an unlimited variety of graduated colour blends to use in their work.

These colour blends can be made to represent other things such as sky, metal, wood or shadows.

Here are some examples:



Graphic Design

Graphic Design



Graphic Design is the art of combining visual and typographical elements together in order to make a customer  respond in a particular way, e.g., go to an event, make a purchase, make an enquiry, do something!

The field is often considered as a sub-set of art, but actually graphic design is a combination of design, visual communication, marketing, psychology and sociology.

Wikipedia defines Graphic Design as:

“The methodology of visual communication, and problem-solving through the use of type, space and image. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used interchangeably with these due to overlapping skills involved. Graphic designers use various methods to create and combine words, symbols, and images to create a visual representation of ideas and messages. A graphic designer may use a combination of typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to produce a final result. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.

Common uses of graphic design include identity (logos and branding), publications (magazines, newspapers and books), print advertisements, posters, billboards, website graphics and elements, signs and product packaging. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as images, shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design, especially when using pre-existing materials or diverse elements.”

Wikipedia Link

Grey Scale

Grey Scale



Grey ScaleGrey Scale is the term designers use when they are referring to work that will be reproduced using only black as the print colour, but making use of all the greys available by printing tints.

Designers do not refer to this as ‘black and white’ as this implies that the black and white are at 100% saturation with no greys.

Grey Scale MonotoneA pallet of tints of just one hue (not necessarily black) is called MONOTONE by the way (not blue scale, green scale or pink scale!)









Sample GridA grid is an arrangement of non-printable vertical and horizontal lines set up on a page to guide the designer and aid in the placement of elements on a page.

A grid can really help to structure a design, especially when the designer is working on a brochure or magazine, where all the pages need to appear related by a common layout.


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